Creative Child

Why Sesame Street is the Best Show Ever!

by Brittany Ferrell


Photo Credit Richard Termine for Sesame Street

#2 Sesame Street helps your child develop number sense.

Just as Sesame Street provides a “letter of the day”, there is also a “number of the day” accompanied by it’s own fun jingle to stomp and clap along to. The Count models how to count in sequence, but also shows what the number looks like using objects. Counting lays the foundation for all mathematical concepts. At the toddler age, counting should be fun, like a game, and Sesame Street sets the stage.

My daughter loves taking objects in and out of containers, so I have aligned this activity with the Sesame Street’s number of the day. I vary the objects and containers along with the number, sometimes it is stuffed animals in a basket, Legos in a bucket, beans in a cup, or pasta in a pot. We practice pointing to each object as we put it in a container or take it out. At eighteen months old, my daughter already understands the concept of the number “one” and I give a silent thanks to Sesame Street every time she asks for one more kiss or one more story in baby sign language.

#3 Sesame Street helps your child develop vocabulary.

Sesame Street now has a feature called “Word on the Street”, in which Murray the Monster introduces a vocabulary word that becomes the theme of the show. How I love a good theme! In one episode, the word of the day was “artist” and featured Bert trying to develop his creative side along with an artist aptly named “Vincent Van Stop”. Bert learned how to paint a sign, while also learning how to differentiate between the letters “R” and “P”. The episode also explains all of the different ways someone can be an artist (painting/drawing, musical, theater) and that anyone can be an artist.

The kids on the show create art with sidewalk chalk and learn about macaroni art and paper sculptures. Naturally, after watching this show, my daughter created our own abstract works of art with crayons and sidewalk chalk. In this way, Sesame Street adds a new word to your child’s vocabulary, but it also gives the parent inspiration for a few new developmentally appropriate creative activities.

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#4 Sesame Street helps your child develop multi-cultural awareness.

Sesame Street has always been great at featuring a multi-cultural cast and characters. Viewers of Sesame Street can hopefully find a cast member that they can relate to, but also learn how to appreciate cultural differences. Many of themes of the episodes also focus on developing multi-cultural awareness. For example, in one episode last season, the word of the day was “baile", which means, “dance” in Spanish. The episode featured many Spanish language words such as: mucho, más, guitarra, maracas, música, fiesta, and amigo. It also featured several Latin dances and explained several types of foods eaten in Spanish speaking countries.

After the episode, I found a Latin playlist on Spotify and we had our own Latin Dance Party. I prepared a Latin inspired meal for dinner and explained each ingredient to my daughter as we cooked, allowing her to try bites of cilantro and tortillas along the way. My hope is for my daughter to grow up and not only appreciate people’s differences, but also celebrate them. Sesame Street is a great resource for helping me teach my daughter this valuable life lesson.

#5 Sesame Street is FUN!

Sesame Street is highly educational and helps teach life lessons like cultural sensitivity, friendship, and how to problem solve. However, it is also FUN! It has Muppets, animation, and songs that you can sing along and dance to. Your child will be engaged and you will not lose your marbles from boredom. If you are going to have your child sit in front of the television for an hour a day, let this be the show.

The benefits of watching will multiply if you gather your little monster onto your lap to enjoy Elmo and the gang in tandem. You can reinforce early literacy skills and number sense, while also gathering ideas for your Pinterest board! Go ahead, turn on that television and find your sunny day, where the clouds are swept away, and let the learning begin!

Related Article: The Brain Science That Changes Parenting 


Brittany Ferrell has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Education. She has worked as an elementary school teacher for twelve years and was awarded "Teacher of the Year" 2011. In February 2014, Brittany and her wonderful husband, Jerome welcomed their miracle, Madeline Olivia to the world and she has chronicled her struggle to become a parent in her published memoir, "From Dream to Dream Come True: My Journey to Motherhood". Brittany writes about her fairy tale dream come true of motherhood on her blog, A Mama Tale.

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